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Colgate's Eachus ready to exit with another rush of glory
Former Hazleton star preps for his final season at Colgate
It’s hard to believe that it has been four years since Nate Eachus put on one of the best shows ever seen on Lehigh Valley football fields.
In consecutive District 11 playoff games in 2007, Eachus, then a senior at Hazleton, ran for 263 yards against Easton, 387 against Liberty and 188 against Parkland.
Only a blocked field goal try on the final play of the game prevented Hazleton from winning the district title.
Eachus’ career has only flourished since that night in Orefield.
He has made his mark in three seasons at Colgate, rushing for 3,722 yards and 47 touchdowns, including 1,871 yards and 22 scores in 2010 as a junior when the Raiders led the country in rushing.
He enters the 2011 season a preseason first-team All-American and Walter Payton Award candidate as well as the Patriot League’s preseason offensive player of the year.
“Time has flown by and I have been fortunate to stay healthy for most of my college career,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of big things to look forward to.”
Colgate was picked second in the Patriot League’s preseason poll, narrowly behind Lehigh, and ahead of Holy Cross, Lafayette, Georgetown and Bucknell — third to sixth, respectively.
The Mountain Hawks travel to Hamilton, N.Y., on Oct. 29 in a game that could decide the league title.
“We lost at Lehigh last year by a lot. … it got totally out of hand. … and we’ve put that game in the back of our minds,” Eachus said.
But Eachus knows a lot of football will be played before and after Halloween weekend and Colgate, despite some vast expectations, needs to perform well every week.
“Preseason polls don’t mean a ton to me,” he said. “You can’t get caught up in them. You just have to go out and play.”
Colgate returns its entire offensive line, and while it has some uncertainty at the quarterback position, the Raiders figure to do what they have always done and that’s pound away at opposing defenses with a physical ground attack.
It has been the perfect offense for a durable, workhorse back like the 5-foot-10, 212-pound Eachus.
“If I had to do it all over again, I’d still pick Colgate,” Eachus said. “I’ve been playing since I was a freshman and athletically and academically, it was the right place for me.”
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Eachus originally hoped to wrestle and play football in college. He was a PIAA state champion on the mats.
“I miss wrestling a lot,” he said. “But it would have been very difficult to do both, and I would have missed football 10 times more had I just chose to just wrestle. Everything has worked out for the best.”
Even as he looks toward the finish of his collegiate career, Eachus still looks back fondly at how his high school career ended with legendary performances for Hazleton against three Lehigh Valley juggernauts.
He’d like to exit Colgate in the same grand fashion.
“I remember those games like they were just yesterday,” Eachus said. “They were very special. We shocked ourselves as well as the rest of the state. I don’t think too many people gave us a chance. Two years before we got blown out by Liberty, so beating them really surprised a lot of people.
“Our goal at Hazleton was to run the ball, mix in a pass every once in awhile and pound, pound and pound away. That’s what we’ve done at Colgate as well. That’s why this was perfect for me. I want the ball 20 to 30 times a game. I want to carry the load and help us win games.”
By Keith Groller, The Morning Call